North Korean computer hackers have stolen hundreds of classified military documents from South Korea including detailed wartime operational plans involving its United States ally, a report said Tuesday.
The two B-1B bombers were accompanied by two F-15K fighters from the South Korean military after leaving their base in Guam, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a news release on Wednesday.
The air-to-ground missile maneuvers near the South Korean coast were intentionally scheduled for North Korea's communist party's anniversary.
A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry said last month that the more sanctions the U.S. and its allies impose on North Korea, the faster the nation will work to develop its nuclear weapons programme, according to North Korea's official KCNA news agency.
South Korean companies that were forced to shut down operations in the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea in 2016 have petitioned the government in Seoul to investigate reports that Pyongyang has reopened the facility without their consent.
The latest in a series of simulated U.S. bombing runs around North Korea, the operation is described as a "show of force" amid ongoing tensions with North Korea.
Among the leaked documents was Operational Plans 5015 for use in case of war with the North and including procedures for "decapitation" attacks on leader Kim Jong-Un, the paper quoted Rhee as saying.
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The White House said Trump met with members of his national security team on Tuesday to discuss the growing threat from the North.
"It is the steadfast will of all the service personnel and people of the DPRK to shower fire on the United States which cried out for totally destroying the DPRK and settle accounts with the showdown with the United States that has lasted century after century by dint of unprecedented strategic force", North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told a delegation from Russia's TASS news agency on Wednesday, according to an English dispatch from the North's Korean Central News Agency.
The defense minister announced, meanwhile, that a group of Australian military forces will soon arrive in South Korea as part of its Indo-Pacific defense activities.
The United Nations Security Council, which has imposed a series of ever tighter sanctions on North Korea, has banned four ships from ports globally for carrying coal from North Korea, including one vessel that also had ammunition.
FireEye thinks that the attacks are a result of the soaring tensions between Pyongyang and Washington following the hermit nation's ballistic missile tests and nuclear programmes. China's influential Global Times tabloid expressed alarm at how far the rhetoric on both sides had gone and how it had increased the risk of a "fatal misjudgment".
South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers after the September 23 mission that North Korea failed to detect the B-1B bombers as they flew in worldwide airspace east of the country.
"In this region, we now have a joint task group which is traveling through. the region", she said. North Korea's possession of secret war plans would require a major overhaul of how South Korea and its ally Washington would respond if there's another war on the Korean Peninsula.